How was Old Skool Cafe started?

Old Skool Cafe was founded in 2005 by Teresa Goines, a former probation officer, who was moved by the lack of justice she encountered as she aimed to support youth who were caught in the cycle of poverty, violence, and incarceration. We operated as a pop-up restaurant and caterer for several years throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. In June 2012, we opened our first restaurant; San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee deemed June 1, 2012 as Old Skool Cafe Day.

How old are the youth at Old Skool Cafe?

Our youth are 16 - 22 years old.

How many youth employees do you have?

Our numbers are constantly changing. Currently, we employ 25 youth at Old Skool Cafe, with two additional training cohorts (30 trainees) each year.

How can youth ages 16 - 22 apply to be part of the program?

Youth Application Form 


Do I need a reservation?

Reservations are recommended, but not required. You can make one here. Parties of 10 or more: please see instructions here.

Is there parking?

We are located in Mendell Plaza, which is a walking plaza by day and parking lot when we’re open. There is plenty of other parking available on the street, and meters are free after 6PM.

What’s the best way to get there by public transit?

We are close to stops for the T, 23, 24 lines.

Do you cater?

Yes! Details here.

Do you have Live Entertainment?

Yes! See our list of entertainers on our Entertainment Calendar.

When is your entertainment?

Entertainers play from 6pm - 9pm every night we’re open, Thursday - Saturday evenings.


Can I get a tax-deduction for donating? For dining?

We are a 501(c)3 nonprofit. Any financial contributions, that do not include the exchange of goods or services, could be eligible for a tax-deduction and will be issued a receipt for your tax purposes. Contributions made through dining at Old Skool Cafe, including tips to servers, are not eligible for a tax deduction. Donations made at the time of dining can be added to your final bill.

Do you use volunteers? If so, how?

We use volunteers on a regular basis to assist with mentorship and teaching necessary skills to our youth for long-term success in life and in the workplace. Volunteers also help help us maintain some of our day-to-day operations, and assist on special development projects.

I want to start my own version of Old Skool Cafe in another city. Can we collaborate?

Please send an outline of your idea, including project timeline, location, and budget, to